I remember running into fellow Brigade member J.C. Hay in a Murdering Your Inner Critic workshop (okay, wasn't really the title, but that's what I'd have called it). As we were chatting he noticed my pink ribbon. His eyes went wide and he said, "You sold!"
I started bouncing and chirping, "I did, I did!" It was the first moment I really let anyone see my excitement. Why? Shouldn't I be walking on clouds and shouting it from the rooftops? (I think I'm up to my third cliche now, sorry.)
|Marcella Burnard, Laurie Green, J.C. Hay|
But proud as I was of that ribbon, I didn't talk about it much. For me at least, there was an element of guilt, and I think probably many writers who've sold know what I'm talking about.
Every author knows how hard writers have to work, how we have to persevere through life's ups and downs, how we encounter rejection at every turn. There is bliss in that first sale, and a monumental feeling of accomplishment, but you don't ever stop thinking about your friends, critique partners, and peers who are still clawing their way up that muddy hillside.
You never forget the business of publishing is subjective, and hard as you work there is an element of luck in reaching the right editor with your story -- the editor who will love it enough to piggyback it through the flaming hoops on the path between editorial interest and actual publication.
What I feel more than anything is lucky, and blessed. For selling my book, but also for having the opportunity to share the excitement with the people who really get it. Despite all the discussion of lists, markets, and trends -- despite those high hopes on awards ceremony night -- fiction is not a competition.
When my editor told me the comparables she'd chosen for my book, they were other WRITERS. One writer's success opens the door for another.
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Now, just for fun, if you had to choose a hybrid of two other books or authors that describes your work, who/what would they be?
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